Another federal judge blocks the end of DACA... sort of

This is getting repetitive to the point of being tiresome now. A second judge has somehow ruled that the government must continue to accept renewal applications from DACA recipients while other cases play out and Congress works on replacement legislation. I suppose the only real shock here is that the ruling didn’t come out of San Francisco, but New York. (CNN)

A second federal judge Tuesday has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that DACA participants and states are likely to succeed in their challenge that the way President Donald Trump terminated the Obama-era program was arbitrary and capricious.

Trump last year announced his plan to end DACA, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to stay in the country, effective March 5. That deadline has become central in the congressional debate over immigration, but Democrats and Republicans are nowhere near a breakthrough.

It’s probably worth pointing out that Judge Garaufis is a Clinton appointee who has been at his post since 2000. He previously made headlines for mandating racial hiring quotas in the New York City Fire Department. He’s also been making DACA related headlines prior to this, chastising people who support the end of the program and being quoted as saying, “You can’t come into court to espouse a position that is heartless.”

This ruling is rather strange on several fronts. For one thing, the judge ruled that the Trump administration, “indisputably can end the DACA program.” That means that as of March 5th they can stop accepting new applicants. But he followed that up by ruling that the government still had to accept renewal applications from people currently in the program. So he’s saying that we have to renew people for participation in a program that no longer exists?

That acknowledgment that the White House can end the program should really have been the end of the discussion and it almost certainly will be if this ever reaches the Supreme Court. If you are willing to accept the idea that the President can summon such a program into existence with the stroke of a pen rather than through the passage of new legislation by Congress, then you’re on thin ice saying that a subsequent president can’t modify or terminate the program in the same way.

This is looking like yet another bit of political grandstanding by a judge, similar to what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the Ninth Circuit. Unfortunately, unless and until an appeal can be pushed through to the Supreme Court or Congress passes a law rendering the current DACA prgram moot, the White House will probably have to abide by this ruling.